- Published: 2008
- Number of pages: 276 pages
- Format: Epub
- File Size: 0.27 MB
- Authors: Patricia Highsmith
It’s here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith’s five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a “sissy.” Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley’s fascination with Dickie’s debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie’s ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. “Sinister and strangely alluring” (Mark Harris, Entertainment Weekly) The Talented Mr. Ripley serves as an unforgettable introduction to this smooth confidence man, whose talent for self-invention is as unnerving—and unnervingly revealing of the American psyche—as ever.
Amazon.com Review One of the great crime novels of the 20th century, Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley is a blend of the narrative subtlety of Henry James and the self-reflexive irony of Vladimir Nabokov. Like the best modernist fiction, Ripley works on two levels. First, it is the story of a young man, Tom Ripley, whose nihilistic tendencies lead him on a deadly passage across Europe. On another level, the novel is a commentary on fictionmaking and techniques of narrative persuasion. Like Humbert Humbert, Tom Ripley seduces readers into empathizing with him even as his actions defy all moral standards. The novel begins with a play on James’s The Ambassadors. Tom Ripley is chosen by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf to retrieve Greenleaf’s son, Dickie, from his overlong sojourn in Italy. Dickie, it seems, is held captive both by the Mediterranean climate and the attractions of his female companion, but Mr. Greenleaf needs him back in New York to help with the family business. With an allowance and a new purpose, Tom leaves behind his dismal city apartment to begin his career as a return escort. But Tom, too, is captivated by Italy. He is also taken with the life and looks of Dickie Greenleaf. He insinuates himself into Dickie’s world and soon finds that his passion for a lifestyle of wealth and sophistication transcends moral compunction. Tom will become Dickie Greenleaf–at all costs. Unlike many modernist experiments, The Talented Mr. Ripley is eminently readable and is driven by a gripping chase narrative that chronicles each of Tom’s calculated maneuvers of self-preservation. Highsmith was in peak form with this novel, and her ability to enter the mind of a sociopath and view the world through his disturbingly amoral eyes is a model that has spawned such latter-day serial killers as Hannibal Lecter. –Patrick O’Kelley –This text refers to the hardcover edition.
Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:
⭐ I doubt that I will ever like another antiheroe as much as Tom Ripley. Maybe Dorian Gray? Almost.Tom Ripley is sent to Europe by Mr. Greenleaf to bring his son, “Dickie”, back to the United States. Tom is a nobody who is bedazzled by Dickie’s rich and bohemian lifestyle once he meets him in Southern Italy. Tom becomes Dickie’s friend, and everything seems fine until Tom decides he wants to be more than his friend.As in the “Picture of Dorian Gray”, you will not learn life lessons or come out as a better person from reading “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, and that is why I like him: he is a real character, like there are so many among us, who also deserves to be the star of books. Why is he one of my favorite characters in literature?“I can’t make up my mind whether I like men or women,” he jokes, “so I’m thinking of giving them both up.”“They were not friends. They didn’t know each other. It struck Tom like a horrible truth, true for all time, true for the people he had known in the past and for those he would know in the future: each had stood and would stand before him, and he would know time and time again that he would never know them, and the worst was that there would always be the illusion, for a time, that he did know them, and that he and they were completely in harmony and alike. For an instant the wordless shock of his realization seemed more than he could bear.””He loved possessions, not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality. Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn’t that worth something? He existed. Not many people in the world knew how to, even if they had the money. It really didn’t take money, masses of money, it took a certain security.”“He remembered that right after that, he had stolen a loaf of bread from a delicatessen counter and had taken it home and devoured it, feeling that the world owed a loaf of bread to him, and more.”“If you wanted to be cheerful, or melancholic, or wistful , or thoughtful, or courteous, you simply had to act those things with every gesture.”In addition to this wonderful character, Patricia Highsmith’s skills as a writer are to be highlighted. Tom’s joy about the anticipation of having his dreams come true and his apprehension about the possibility of such dreams being shattered are a delight to read. I could not help siding with him the entire time, despite the fact that he is anything but a role model.I do have an issue with the credibility of the plot at times. Perhaps, the guilibility of the characters in this novel reflects that of people’s at a certain place and time – rich Americans and the Italian police of 1955 Italy – but sometimes the plot surpasses the line of reality and reason. In addition, I wish that Dickie and Marge had been developed a bit more in depth, considering the important role they play in justifying some of Tom’s actions, because Tom’s attitude towards them can seem gratuitous.Despite these minor flaws, this is one of my favorite novels by the talented Ms. Highsmith, who is also one of my favorite writers.
⭐ I really loved this book! I have seen The Talented Mr. Ripley (the movie) several times and wanted to see what the book was like. It is mostly like the movie, and there are some changes. I could not put this book down. Patricia Highsmith did a great job with this novel. I have heard the other books after this are not as good. I am glad they chose Matt Damon instead of Tom Cruise for the role of Ripley. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery!
⭐ If you check out just about any list of classic mystery novels, you’re likely to come across The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1921-95). And it’s easy to understand why. When it was published in 1955, it must have created a sensation. Kirkus published a brief spoiler review of the book on November 30, 1955, noting “The virtuosity here—more than anything else—will pin you to the page.” In other words, the reviewer may have hated the book but admired Ms. Highsmith’s writerly talents. Which neatly sums up my own feelings about it.It’s not terribly complicated why I didn’t enjoy this book. In a word, Tom Ripley is a creep. A sociopath. He’s a masterful liar, a con man, a social climber, a deeply repressed homosexual, and, as you will not be surprised to learn, a murderer. A serial murderer, in fact. I prefer reading books about people I can respect.A classic mystery novel about a creepSo, okay, here’s the story in a nutshell. Tom is approached by Mr. Greenleaf, a wealthy shipbuilder who believes Tom is one of his son’s best friends. The son, Richard (Dickie) Greenleaf, styles himself as a painter and has moved to an Italian village. Mr. Greenleaf wants Tom to bring him home, presumably so he can go to work in the boat-building business, and he’s willing to pay the cost for Tom to travel and camp out there for a time. Since Tom is poor and has no fixed address, he looks on this as a terrific opportunity.Spoiler alert: here’s what happensOnce in Italy, Tom skillfully embeds himself in Dickie’s life. The only problem is Marge Sherwood, another American expat who lives in the village and is in love with Dickie. Marge suspects Tom of inappropriate motives; in fact, she believes he’s gay and is trying to steal Dickie from her. So, that’s the setup.It’s not long before Tom finds a way to murder Dickie, hide the body, and impersonate him brilliantly enough to start living off of Dickie’s trust fund. And when a friend of Dickie’s threatens to expose the scheme, Tom murders him, too. Somehow, then, he manages to convince the Italian police, Marge, Mr. Greenleaf, and an American private detective that it was Dickie who probably committed the second murder and then killed himself in remorse. In other words, the creep gets away with it all. It’s all very clever, and very disturbing.Sorry, Ms. Highsmith. Classic mystery novel or not, that’s not my kind of story.
⭐ I saw both the movie and read the book in 2019 and really liked the book. The book is so much better than the movie. Tom Ripley is an amoral person, a sociopath and narcissist but fascinating. He is the anti-thesis of a moral person. And regular people sees this after some time, just like in real life but you will not feel tainted by him. Not like with Hannibal Lecter or other more modern disgusting characters.
⭐ This is a pretty enjoyable book.I decided to read after rewatching the 1999 movie recently when it was on HBO. I haven’t read anything by Patricia Highsmith before, so I don’t know if this is overall typical of her style but it is kind of an eccentric read – like reading a murder mystery totally from the POV of the criminal who is completely honest and unrepentant to the reader. It was a bit drier than the movie in tone and the other characters are much less fleshed out and only exist through Ripley’s perspective on them. I don’t want to give too many spoilers for those unfamiliar with the book and movie, but Tom Ripley is a very odd character and it is his POV throughout the story. At times sharply observant and other times careless, sometimes conscientious but other times coldly homicidal, Tom Ripley the con man both charms and creeps people out throughout the novel. The writing is deceptively simple and tells the story with a quickness in pace and clarity that is admirable. The novel moved quickly and kept me interested throughout, even though I knew a lot of what would happen based on the movie. I am not sure I would have liked it so much if I hadn’t watched the movie first though, as part of the fun was comparing the differences between the two. I have a lot of thoughts on Tom’s sexuality (or lack thereof?) and how it was portrayed in the book vs movie and how differently that might happen today if the book was written again, but that is too complicated and time-requiring for an amazon book review.
⭐ I ordered this book as HBO was running the movie for about 2weeks, and I was fascinated by it. The movie was made in the 90’s but I had never seen it. I was amazed that when I ordered the book that it was written in the 50’s, and that there were other Tom Ripley books written after this one. I will be ordering and reading them also.Now, the book can’t be compared to the movie, but I was not disappointed. The book is more what Tom is thinking, whereas the movie is of course visual, and in someway different than the book, but still the book is good. Not disappointed at all, and looking forward to the others.
⭐ I found this story an outstanding example of creepy crime fiction. The protagonist, Tom Ripley–I cannot call him a hero–is a sociopathic monster who gets away with a variety of horrifying misdeeds. The way he does it makes you want to throttle him. A biography of the author, Patricia Highsmith, emphasizes a subtle strain of homoeroticism; to me this was a minor matter, and it is never explicit. In summation, I’d say that readers will get their money’s worth.
⭐ While I didn’t like Tom Ripley, I loved reading about him. What’s more is that my stomach was in knots, the deeper he dug the hole he was in. That’s a tough thing for an author to accomplish! The plot was amazing and the suspense, riveting. Love Tom’s psychology was fascinating. If you like suspense and we’ll written antiheros, this will be up your alley.
⭐ After seeing the excellent film adaption, I was curious to read the book. I found it very stylish, and a great insight into Ripley’s motivations, which you didn’t get in the film. The European locations added to the atmosphere, especially having it set decades ago, when European travel was all the rage for the jet-set. Although the film adaption was different from this book, especially during the end, it was a great read and I can’t wait to get the further books by Highsmith featuring her murderously delightful anti-hero.
⭐ One of those hyped novels that, at least for me, doesn’t live up to the hype. Ripley is not a clever sociopath like Hannibal Lector, for example. Ripley is a dim bulb loser who happens to get lucky again and again. Long before the end of the book, I was hoping he’d get caught—or dropped off a balcony. I like my villains clever and Ripley is anything but.
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